The Corner

Romney Buying Votes in S.C.?

No, not exactly. But this is somewhat unusual, no?

SUMTER, S.C. – Amid shaking hands and signing campaign posters, Mitt Romney did something he has never done before on the ropeline: He took out his wallet and handed a wad of cash to a woman waiting to shake his hand.

The woman, 55-year-old Ruth Williams, says she has been following the Romney campaign since he arrived in the state on Jan. 11, when she said she received a message from God to track him down.

“I was on the highway praying and said, ‘God just show me how to get [my] lights on,’ and I pulled up to a stop sign and his bus was there,” said Williams, who has been unemployed since last October. “And then God said, ‘Follow the bus,’ and I followed the bus to the airport.”

[. . .]

“He was kind to me and he made Gov. Haley come see about me,” Williams said. “He stopped doing everything.”

Apparently Romney gave the woman between $50 and $60, and South Carolina state treasurer Curtis Loftis added $150 to pay the woman’s electric bill.

A touch of genuine human kindness? A campaign stunt? Probably a little of column A and a little of column B. But more to the point, it also sets up a bit of an undesirable precedent, doesn’t it?

In any event, the woman reports she has been volunteering at Romney’s Columbia headquarters since the meeting.

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

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